It came back. That hunger. That fuel. The zone.
The US 12K Championship went better than expected. I think if it was 15K it would have gone even better. I wasn't sharp enough to go faster but I was able to maintain a solid 5:02 pace for 7.5 miles. It was a good effort that broke me free of the long marathon training just behind me, and I felt like I could improve on that 5:00 pace range I was running, under 5:00 pace with a little more sharpness. I also knew this was something the marathon training had produced-a newer form of myself, hungry to run fast now with the long running to back me up-even with an unfinished marathon-the training was still completed. I was also happy about the place. To snag 25th in a championship race is really solid and I am proud of the way I competed. I noticed I felt hungry for more after. I felt a yearning to work on my zone. 15 kilometer, 10 mile, 13.1 mile racing. My sweet spot. I immediately began to feel like I could build a lot off this race. And I was enjoying it.
It's time to get in my zone. I talked to Roland over the phone over how good I felt during this race, and how I feel like this spring I am ready to do some serious damage in the 15K-13.1 racing zone. I feel strong, recovered from the defeat in Chicago, and rejuvenated with a spirit full of fuel. I feel it inside. I have it. I just need to go out there and use it!
We talked over my racing schedule, and I contacted a man named Richard Clark Fannin, thanks to my good friend Jerry Greenlaw. Richard is the director of the Jacksonville Bank Half Marathon, and on January 3rd, 2016 he has put together an Olympic Trials Qualifying Project-a shot for US athletes to achieve the grueling 1:05:00 standard. Just because he's simply awesome, he has a pacer, top US runner Tyler Pennel, who will run the sub 1:05:00(4:57 pace) standard, and so many great runners are running this. It's too epic to pass up, so I decided the hell with it and go for it. I do not have super high expectations-1:05:00-the Olympic Trials mark is a tall task. I ran 1:07:29 2 years ago this coming January. BUT, with numerous 1:06 guys in the race, there is no doubt there is a chance I could PR...and I do have a shot. Hell, if I feel good running 1:05 pace, of course I'll go for it. But my ultimate goal is to get the most out every race and my training-whatever that ends up being. There will be some differences from last year. There will be no concentration on 5K PRs next spring, unlike last year when I got into the 14:40's for the first time. That was good last year but change is good. You have to change things up to continue to develop. There are 4 major races between January and April I am now looking at. The outlook on the schedule is below.
January 3: Jacksonville Bank Half Marathon Olympic Trials Qualifying Race
March 12: USATF 15 Kilometer Chamionships
April 3: Cherry Blossom 10 Miler
April 30: USATF Half Marathon Championships
After the spring will be a targeted endurance segment, followed by the return to marathon specific training for the fall towards Marine Corps-with the intention to win the damn race.
This week I am racing the Turkey Chase 10K as a workout. I just want to run to win. Then it's back to more workouts heading into 2016.
Dream on. Train. Find Your Strong.